Trip Essentials: 6 Must-Have (and Free) Apps for Every Traveler

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iPhone

While it’s exciting to discover a growing market of trendy, trick-heavy travel apps- one can now book private jet flights with apps such as BlackJet and PrivateFly- we still wonder: what are the excellent, practical apps suitable for all travelers?  From the business exec to the budget backpacker, these tried-and-true apps are the definitive finds for every kind of world tripper.


 Kayak

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Flight fare search has never been more comprehensive (and budget-conscious). This app consolidates all commercial airline flights to provide the lowest available fares. While the desktop version is more feature-rich, the app does wonders for quick, accurate flight quotes on-the-go.

Available for: iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone

Alternative: Skyscanner


Xe Currency

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Let XE Currency ease the guessing work of foreign money amounts on your next trip; this helpful app provides accurate conversion for every world currency, helping travelers better understand their “foreign” budget before they check-in for departure.

Available for: iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone, or Firefox OS

Alternative: Converter Plus


Google Maps

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A seamless option for current Google/Gmail users, Google Maps is still the reigning app for accurate worldwide navigation. Its public transit ability is its best feature, providing astoundingly accurate directions and stop times for global cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Sydney.

Available for: iOS and Android

Alternative: Waze


 Wi-Fi Finder

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Going on a short overseas trip and don’t really need the hassle/cost of a foreign phone service? Wi-Fi Finder uses your smartphone’s GPS to locate nearby places to locate fee-free hotspots- and works online and offline. Now you’ll have more options for convenient wi-fi stops than just Starbucks and McDonald’s.

Available for: iOS and Android


  TripIt

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When sticky notes and memo screens just won’t do, TripIt is an excellent, user-intuitive travel organizer app. This all-in-one program consolidates your flights, notes, itineraries and maps for each trip…automatically transcribing flight & travel confirmation emails (that you forward via email) to the TripIt app.

Available for: iOS, Android & Blackberry

Alternative: TripCase


Whatsapp

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Whatsapp is the only app listed that’s free-ish (free for all users for 1 year, then 99 cents/pence per year) but proves to be one of the most indispensible apps for multimedia messaging. With over 600 million active users, it is a mainstay for both everyday users and travelers to contact fellow “Whatsappers” anywhere in the world…as long as there’s internet connection.

Available on all mobile platforms

Alternative: Viber


Google Translate

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For those of us who didn’t ace that foreign language class in school, Google Translate comes as a God-send to mitigate real-time language barriers.   Google Translate also keeps your search history intact offline and you can type, “handwrite” and dictate the phrase/word you need translated, with over 80 available languages at the ready.

Available for: iOS and Android; limited capability on Blackberry, Windows Phone and Nokia

Alternative: iTranslate

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